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A quarter of Americans are interested in having a non-monogamous relationship

Monogamy, by default, isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people may find they are happier in open or non-monogamous relationships, where they can have some level of sexual or romantic non-exclusivity.

So, exactly how many Americans are interested in non-monogamy?  

A YouGov poll of more than 1,100 Americans found that about a quarter (26%) of Americans say they would be interested in having a non-monogamous relationship. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans see monogamy as an ideal relationship model, but only 58% say their ideal relationship would be complete traditional monogamy. Slightly more than a quarter (28%) of Americans don’t fully believe in monogamy.


What’s your ideal relationship type right now?

The same survey found that men (32%) are more likely than women (19%) to say they would be interested in a non-monogamous relationship. The most common type of non-monogamous ideal relationship for both men (15%) and women (8%) is open monogamy, which is one serious romantic relationship or marriage with some sexual activity outside of it.


The non-monogamy spectrum

Ashley Madison, to no surprise, has seen a similar interest in non-monogamy amongst its members. Non-monogamy encompasses a spectrum of relationship types, including polyamory, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ‘monogamish’, open, swinging and infidelity.

Women are more interested in non-monogamy than men, as 44% of female members report more than one affair partner at a time, compared to 36% of male members.* For women, the most important benefit of multiple sexual relationships was the ability to express different parts of themselves with different people (56%), followed by “having multiple needs met by multiple people” (50%) and “never getting bored” (50%) with their sex life.

“Both men and women have a need for erotic adventure and excitement that is deeply rooted in our long evolutionary history. The past 12,000 years of socially imposed monogamy across most post-agricultural patriarchal societies, especially among women, may have muted our desires somewhat but haven’t erased who we are deep down. As our world becomes increasingly gender-egalitarian, geographically mobile, and technologically connected than ever before in human history, expect more and more people to lean into their need for non-monogamy.”
Dr. Zhana Vrangalova
Dr. Zhana Vrangalova
Sex and relationships consultant, researcher, and professor at New York University.

More Zillennials believe they would try a non-monogamous relationship compared to older Americans.

American attitudes towards non-monogamy are changing. Based on the same YouGov poll, a full 40% of Zillenial (ages 18-34) Americans believe society would benefit from moving towards a more open style of monogamy. A third are undecided. 

The generational divide is striking. Four in 10 Zillennials (aged 18 – 34) would be interested in non-monogamy. At the same time, Generation X trails 14 points behind (26%), followed by Baby Boomers (11%), who are the least likely to express interest in a non-monogamous relationship.


Surprisingly enough, Zillennial women (47%) are more likely than Zillennial men (37%) to indicate they would be open to non-monogamy. A younger generation of women appear to be leading the charge against monogamy by default.


Based on an online survey conducted by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,195 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th and 31st January 2022. The survey was commissioned by Ashley Madison in consultation with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

*Based on an online survey of 3,112 Ashley Madison members collected October 18 – 26, 2021.
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// UTM Lastclick